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Kappa Alpha Psi

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Founded January 5, 1911 (1911-01-05)
Indiana University Bloomington
Type Social
Scope International:
United States
United Kingdom
South Africa
Virgin Islands
The Bahamas
Object Cane
Motto Achievement in Every Field of Human Endeavor


Symbol Diamond
Flower Red Carnation
Publication The Kappa Alpha Psi Journal
Chartered Jan 15, 1911[1] at Bloomington, Indiana
Chapters 721
Members 150,000+ collegiate
Nickname Kappas, Nupes
Headquarters 2322-24 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Homepage Official website

Kappa Alpha Psi (ΚΑΨ) is a collegiate Greek-letter fraternity with a predominantly African-American membership. Since the fraternity's founding on January 5, 1911 at Indiana University Bloomington, the fraternity has never limited membership based on color, creed or national origin. The fraternity has over 150,000 members with 721 undergraduate and alumni chapters in every state of the United States, and international chapters in the United Kingdom, Germany, Korea, Japan, United States Virgin Islands, Nigeria, and South Africa.[2]

The president of the national fraternity is known as the Grand Polemarch, who assigns a Province Polemarch for each of the twelve provinces (districts/regions) of the nation. The fraternity has many notable members recognized as leaders in the arts, athletics, business, civil rights, education, government, and science sectors at the local, national and international level.[2] The Kappa Alpha Psi Journal is the official magazine of the fraternity since 1914.[3] The Journal is published four times a year in February, April, October and December. Frank M. Summers was the magazine's first editor and later on became the Fourteenth Grand Polemarch.[3] The former editor of the magazine was Jonathan Hicks.[4] The current editor of the magazine is Earl T. Tildon.

Kappa Alpha Psi sponsors programs providing community service, social welfare and academic scholarship through the Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation and is a supporter of the step shows. Kappa Alpha Psi celebrated its 100th anniversary on January 5, 2011, and is one of only four predominantly African American collegiate fraternities to do so.


  • History 1
    • Founders 1.1
    • Founding 1.2
    • The Kappa "Kane" 1.3
  • National programs 2
    • Guide Right 2.1
      • Kappa League 2.1.1
      • Student of the Year Competition 2.1.2
    • Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation 2.2
    • Pan-Hellenic membership 2.3
  • Membership 3
    • Hazing 3.1
  • Provinces 4
  • Chapters 5
  • Notable members 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10



The founders of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. are: Dr. Guy Levis Grant, Edward Giles Irvin, and Sgt. John Milton Lee.

The founders endeavored to establish the fraternity with a strong foundation before embarking on plans of expansion. By the end of the first year, the ritual was completed, and a design for the coat of arms and motto had begun.[5] Frederick Mitchell name is on the application for the Incorporation of the Fraternity but withdrew from school and thus never became a member of the Fraternity.[6]


The fraternity was founded as Kappa Alpha Nu on the night of January 5, 1911 by ten African-American college students.[7] The decision upon the name Kappa Alpha Nu may have been to honor the

  • Kappa Alpha Psi official website
  • Kappa Alpha Psi on Twitter

External links

  • Crump, William L. (1991). The story of Kappa Alpha Psi: A history of the beginning and development of a college Greek letter organization, 1911-1991. 

Further reading

  1. ^ "A Brief History". Kappa Alpha Psi Inc. 
  2. ^ a b "Brief info". Archived from the original on 2007-07-15. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Bryson, Ralph J. (2003). The Story of Kappa Alpha Psi: A History of the Beginning and Development of A College Greek Letter Organization 1911-1999. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. 
  4. ^ "Journal". Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  5. ^ a b "Kappa Alpha Psi (ΚΑΨ) Founding History". Retrieved 2006-05-07. 
  6. ^ "Founders Caine, Grant and Mitchell". Retrieved 2014. 
  7. ^ "The History of Kappa Alpha Psi". Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Germantown Alumni Chapter. Retrieved 2006-04-26. 
  8. ^ "Kappa Alpha Psi (ΚΑΨ) Overview". Retrieved 2006-07-26. 
  9. ^ "Message from the Province Polemarch". Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Middlewestern Province. Archived from the original on 2006-11-06. Retrieved 2006-09-12. 
  10. ^ "Kappa Alpha Nu becomes Kappa Alpha Psi". Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Mu Epsilon Chapter. Retrieved 2006-05-08. 
  11. ^ "History of the National Silhouettes of ΚΑΨ". Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Southwestern Province. Retrieved 2006-05-08. 
  12. ^ a b "Guide Right". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-07-13. 
  13. ^ "Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. Kappa Kamp Summer Enrichment 2008". Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Grand Chapter Website. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  14. ^ "Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. Partners with A-MAN, Inc. To Promote Interest In Science and Technology Among Youth". A-MAN, Inc. Retrieved 2006-11-27. 
  15. ^ "Message From Guide Right Commission Chairman". Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Grand Chapter Website. Retrieved 2004-04-01. 
  16. ^ a b c Grand Chapter 2004, op. cit., pp. 38.
  17. ^ "National Pan-Hellenic Council Aboutpage". NPHC. Retrieved 2006-07-02. 
  18. ^ "North American Interfraternity Conference". NIC. Retrieved 2006-07-02. 
  19. ^ "Fraternity History". Retrieved 2007-07-11. 
  20. ^ "NEP". kapsinep. Retrieved 2007-07-11. 
  21. ^ "Membership". Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  22. ^ "Membership requirements" (PDF). Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-07-12. 
  23. ^ "KAPSI History". Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. Archived from the original on 2007-11-03. Retrieved 2007-07-12. 
  24. ^ "Executive Order 3". Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  25. ^ Applebome, Peter (1994-12-21). "Lawsuit Shatters Code of Silence Over Hazing at Black Fraternities". New York Times (New York). Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Hazing". Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  28. ^ "Executive Orders 1,2,3". Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^ "Fraternity History". Retrieved 2007-07-11. 


See also

Notable members

Kappa Alpha Psi has founded over 721 undergraduate, alumni, and international chapters. The fraternity has over 150,000 members and is divided into twelve provinces (districts/regions), with each chapter under the aegis of a province.


  • Northern (States Covered: Northwest OH, MI, Western NY)
  • Eastern (States Covered: DC, MD, VA, Bermuda)
  • Southern (States Covered: AL, FL, Grand Bahamas, Republic of Panama, U.S. Virgin Islands)
  • Western (States Covered: AZ, CA, NV, AK, OR, WA, ID, UT, HI, Japan, Korea)
  • North Eastern (States Covered: DE, CT, MA, NJ, Eastern PA, RI, Eastern NY, ME, NH, VT, Germany, United Kingdom)
  • South Eastern (States Covered: GA, SC, South Africa)
  • South Western (States Covered: AR, LA, Southern MS, NM, TX)
  • North Central (States Covered: IA, IL, IN, WI, MN)
  • East Central (States Covered: OH, Western PA, Northern WV)
  • South Central (States Covered: KY, TN, Northern MS)
  • Middle Eastern (States Covered: NC, Southern WV)
  • Middle Western (States Covered: CO, KS, MO, NE, OK)

In 1921, the Fraternity was divided into districts as a result of proposed legislation by George F. David II, the third Grand Polemarch. David was first Grand Polemarch who had not been nurtured by the Alpha Chapter under the influence of the Founders, proposed dividing the Fraternity into supervisory districts. The idea originated with his father who was a Presiding Elder of the A.M.E. Church. Grand Polemarch David II, implemented the division of the Fraternity into three districts. Past Grand Polemarch Irven Armstrong was assigned the first; Harrison R. Duke, the second; and Harold M. Tyler, the third district. The three districts grew into four "regions". Fifth Grand Polemarch Earl B. Dickerson changed the designation of "Region" to "Province" and "Regional Director" to "Province Polemarch" at the 15th Grand Chapter Meeting in 1925. And during the original establishment of provinces, the following provinces were established: Eastern, Middle Eastern, Central, Great Lakes, Northwestern, Western, Southern, and Southeastern Provinces.[39] Currently there are 12 provinces with the following names:

Map of the twelve provinces of Kappa Alpha Psi.


[38][37] In 2015, a D.C. man sued the fraternity for hazing and humiliation. The 45 year old filed a $2 million lawsuit because he stated after paying his non-refundable $3,000 graduate intake membership fee, he was coerced to be beaten with a cane, rub lotion on a Kappa, and clean a Kappa's house in only his underwear and barefeet to become a welcomed member of the fraternity.[36] Also in March 2014, five Kappas from the University of Central Arkansas were arrested for beating pledges.[35] In March 2014, several Kappa Alpha Psi members from the University of Memphis were arrested and charged for hazing and beating pledges.[34] Kappa Alpha Psi has never condoned

Any member, who participates in underground pledge activities, or hazing of any kind, shall be expelled from the Fraternity.

Executive Order Three [24]


To be considered for membership, a candidate must have at least a 2.5 gpa on a 4.0 scale. For consideration into Kappa Alpha Psi on the alumni level, one must possess at least a bachelor's degree or the equivalent of such a degree from an accredited college or university.[22] Kappa Alpha Psi also prides itself in that it has never bestowed honorary membership.[23]

Kappa Alpha Psi offers undergraduate and graduate membership to potential aspirants, and its constitution has never contained any clause which either excluded or suggested the exclusion of a man from membership because of color, creed, or national origin.[19] Undergraduate Chapters are located on more than 406 College and University campuses and Alumni Chapters are arrayed in some 367 cities in the United States and 9 foreign countries.[20]

Kappa Alpha Psi chapter at Wilberforce, 1922


The NIC serves to advocate the needs of its member fraternities through enrichment of the fraternity experience, advancement and growth of the fraternity community, and enhancement of the educational mission of the host institutions.[18]

The NPHC is composed of nine international black Greek-letter sororities and fraternities and promotes interaction through forums, meetings, and other mediums for the exchange of information, and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions.[17]

The fraternity maintains dual membership in the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) and the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC).

Pan-Hellenic membership

[16] The Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation was conceived by Dr. Oliver S. Gumbs, the 23rd Grand

The "Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation," established in 1981, is the philanthropic arm of the fraternity and assists both alumni and undergraduate chapters in support of scholarships, after-school programs, and national projects such as Habitat for Humanity.[12]

Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation

The Student of the Year Competition is a contest that encompasses six areas deemed critical to a successful life - scholarship, talent, community involvement, poise and appearance, career preparation, and model chapter operation. Each Province sponsors a pageant during its Council. In the year of a Grand Chapter Meeting, the Province winners compete at the Grand Chapter Meeting. The first Student of the Year Pageant was held on May 20, 1972 at Drexel University, under the direction of Mel Davis. The first Pageant at the Grand Chapter Meeting occurred at the 58th Grand Chapter Meeting.[16]

Student of the Year Competition

The Kappa League was founded Thursday, February 12, 1970 by the Los Angeles (CA) Alumni chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi; under the direction of Leon W Steward. Steward brought the idea to Los Angeles from Dayton, Ohio, where he had worked closely with Jay Crosby to expand the guide right activities of Dayton (OH) Alumni chapter. The Kappa League is a series of activities designed to help young high school male students develop their leadership talents. The activities provide both challenging and rewarding experiences to enhance their lives. The goal of the League is to help the students achieve worthy goals for themselves and to make meaningful contributions to their communities. The League includes a series of workshops to achieve its goals.[16]

Kappa League

The five national Guide Right initiatives [13] are Kappa League, Jr. Kappa League, A-MAN Program,[14] St. Jude Research Hospital, and the premier program, "Kappa Kamp," which enables inner city boys to attend camp at the Piney Woods Country Life School in Piney Woods, Mississippi.[15] In addition to the above-mentioned national initiatives, chapters within the Fraternity sponsor a wide variety of Guide Right programs in their communities that support their local youth.

Guide Right is administrated by a National Director and a Guide Right Commission. The Guide Right Commission consists of the Director and twelve Province Guide Right Coordinators, one from each Province, appointed by their respective Province Polemarchs. The Director is uniquely qualified to perform the duties of this office and is appointed by the Grand Polemarch. He prepares such directives as are necessary for the successful and efficient observance of this National movement. He also edits and prepares the Manual for the universal use of Undergraduate and Alumni.[12]

Conceived in 1922 by Leon Wop Stewart, and suggested at the twelfth Grand Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, Guide Right became the Fraternity's National Service Program. Jesse Jerome Peters, later to become the eighth Grand Polemarch, was chairman of the committee, during the administration of W. Ellis Stewart as Grand Polemarch.

Guide Right is a program for the educational and occupational guidance of youth, primarily inspirational and informational in character. Its reach extends to high schools and colleges alike. In the latter, giving due attention to the needs of undergraduate Brothers.

Guide Right

National programs

In the 1960s the national organization did not condone the use of canes or Kappa Alpha Psi's participation in step shows contending that "the hours spent in step practices by chapters each week would be better devoted to academic or civic achievement."[3] Senior Grand Vice Polemarch Ullysses McBride complained about the vulgar language and obscene gestures sometimes engaged in by cane-stepping participants during these stepshows.[3] In 1985, during the fraternity's 66th national meeting, cane stepping was finally recognized as an important staple of Kappa Alpha Psi.[3]

In the 1950s, as black Greek-letter organizations began the tradition of step shows, the fraternity began using the "Kappa Kane" in what it termed "cane stepping". The kappa canes were longer in the 1950s than in later decades. In the early 1960s, the cane was decorated with the fraternity colors. In the 1970s the cane was shortened so brothers could "twirl" and tap the cane in the choreography with high dexterity. The process of covering the cane in the fraternal colors is considered as 'wrapping' and is done very specifically.

The Kappa "Kane"

In 1947, at the Los Angeles Conclave, the National Silhouettes of Kappa Alpha Psi were established as an auxiliary group, which membership comprises wives or widows of fraternity members. In 1980, the Silhouettes were officially recognized and granted a seat on the Board of Directors of the Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation. Silhouettes provide support and assistance for the activities of Kappa Alpha Psi at the Grand Chapter, Province and Local levels.[11]

Some believe the Greek letters Kappa Alpha Nu were chosen as a tribute to Alpha Kappa Nu,[9] but the name became an ethnic slur among racist factions. Founder Elder Watson Diggs, while observing a young initiate compete in a track meet, overheard fans referring to the member as a "kappa alpha nig", and a campaign to rename the fraternity ensued.[10] The resolution to rename the group was adopted in December 1914, and the fraternity states, "the name acquired a distinctive Greek letter symbol and KAPPA ALPHA PSI thereby became a Greek letter Fraternity in every sense of the designation." Kappa Alpha Psi has been the official name since April 15, 1915.[5]

By 1913, the fraternity expanded with the second undergraduate chapter opened at the University of Illinois—Beta chapter; then the University of Iowa—Gamma chapter. After this, Kappa Alpha Psi chartered undergraduate chapters on Black college campuses at Wilberforce University—Delta Chapter, and Lincoln University (Pennsylvania)—Epsilon Chapter. In 1920, Xi Chapter was chartered at Howard University. In 1921, the fraternity installed the Omicron chapter at Columbia University, its first at an Ivy League university. The fraternity's first chapter in the South was established in 1921 at Morehouse College— Pi Chapter. Kappa Alpha Psi expanded through the Midwest, South, and West at both white and black colleges.[3]

The motto of the Fraternity is, Achievement in every field of human endeavor. During this time there were very few African-American students at the majority white campus at Bloomington, Indiana and they were a small minority due to the era of the Jim Crow laws. Many African-American students rarely saw each other on campus and were discouraged or prohibited from attending student functions and extracurricular activities by white college administrators and fellow students. African-American students were denied membership on athletic teams with the exception of track and field. The racial prejudice and discrimination encountered by the founders strengthened their bond of friendship and growing interest in starting a social group.[8]

Kappa Alpha Psi initiate Frank Summers was one of eighteen members of the Indiana University Track team awarded the letter "I" in 1915.

The organization known today as Kappa Alpha Psi was nationally incorporated under the name of Kappa Alpha Nu on May 15, 1911 (the 1st nationally incorporated college fraternity by African Americans). The name of the organization was changed to its current name in 1915, shortly after its creation. [3]

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